At Researching Reform we are passionate about ending corporal punishment around the world, and humbled to be a member of The Global Partnership To End Violence Against Children.

The Partnership features a large network of countries, government officials, organisations and academics who share information with one another, and our Round Up this week comes from this collective, which is headed up by Professor Joan Durrant. 

Sperius Eradius, who was thirteen, died in Tanzania after being beaten at school by a teacher. His death has caused an outcry amongst the country’s child welfare campaigners, who are now urging the government to end the use of corporal punishment in schools. No call though, seems to have been made to end corporal punishment at home. Tanzania is one of a small number of African countries where corporal punishment is allowed in every setting. Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, has also publicly stated his support for caning children.

Equally worrying is the re-instatement of corporal punishment in Georgia, after a school in Hephzibah sent consent forms to parents to allow the use of paddling as a form of punishment for students.

Reports from CBS news suggest that about 100 parents sent back the forms, while one-third gave the school consent to paddle their children. Paddling is currently allowed in several states in America, including:

  1. Wyoming
  2. Colorado
  3. Arizona
  4. Kansas
  5. Ohio
  6. Idaho
  7. Indiana
  8. North Carolina
  9. South Carolina
  10. New Mexico
  11. Florida
  12. Kentucky
  13. Missouri
  14. Texas

Dr Tracie Afifi, who is a member of The Global Partnership To End Violence Against Children, recently spoke to the CTV news channel to explain how corporal punishment negatively affects children. The interview has been viewed over 2,000 times.

Both in America and the UK, an adult slapping or hitting another adult, is illegal. Notwithstanding the context of self defense, that act is still considered illegal if:

  • The adult being hit is related to the hitter
  • The adult doing the hitting feels somehow justified by their actions
  • The adult being hit can’t speak, or experiences partial awareness due to a disability

And that last point is incredibly important. If a person was being prosecuted for hitting a vulnerable adult, that would not be viewed as a mitigating factor, but an aggravating one. To take the view then, that hitting a child is somehow an exception, flies in the face of common sense, and all that we consider important and urgent about the law. 

There is absolutely no rational justification for hitting a child.